Roman Medan: The Nature and Socio-Political Context of a Corpus in Sumatran Popular Literature, 1930s-1960s

  • Suryadi S. Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden University

Abstract

Roman Medan is the name given to one of the major corpuses of Indonesian popular literature that was mostly published in Medan, the most important city in the northern part of Sumatra, since the 1930s onwards—the final decades of the colonial era. The corpus survived for about decades before disappearing in the late 1960s. Another term given to these works was roman Sumatera (Sumatran novels), while the Dutch scholar R. Roolvink called them dubbeltjes-roman (roman pitjisan in Indonesian, literally meaning “dime novelâ€), which reflects a rather disparaging attitude. This article explores the nature, sociopolitical and historical contexts of roman Medan, especially relating to the cultural politics in Indonesia towards the end of the Dutch colonial period. In this way, it is hoped that readers will get a clear picture of the position of the corpus, textually and sociologically, in the history of modern Indonesian literature.
Keywords: roman Medan, roman Sumatera, roman pitjisan, popular literature, literary history, cultural politics, colonialism, Dutch East Indies, modern Indonesian literature


Abstrak
Roman Medan adalah nama yang diberikan untuk satu korpus besar sastera popular berbahasa Indonesia yang kebanyakan terbit di Medan, bandar terpenting di bagian utara Pulau Sumatera sejak tahun 1930-an, dekad-dekad akhir Zaman Koolonial. Korpus ini bertahan selama sekitar 4 dekad sebelum menghilang di akhir 1960-an. Istilah lain yang diberikan kepadanya adalah roman Sumatera, sementara sarjana Belanda R. Roolvink menyebutnya roman pitjisan yang mengesankan pandangan yang agak meremehkan. Rencana ini mendedahkan lingkup dunia daripada roman Medan dan konteks sosiopolitik dan kesejarahannya, khasnya yang terkait dengan politik budaya di Indonesia di akhir zaman penjajahan Belanda. Dengan begitu. diharapkan pembaca mendapat gambaran yang jelas mengenai kedudukan korpus ini secara tekstual dan sosiologi dalam sejarah kesusasteraan Indonesia moden.
Kata kunci: roman Medan, roman Sumatera, roman pitjisan, sastera popular, sejarah sastera, politik budaya, kolonialisme, Hindia Belanda, kesusasteraan Indonesia moden

Author Biography

Suryadi S., Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden University

Fellow of Institut Antarabangsa Tamadun Islam dan Dunia Melayu (ISTAC) UIAM

Published
2019-12-05
How to Cite
S., Suryadi. Roman Medan: The Nature and Socio-Political Context of a Corpus in Sumatran Popular Literature, 1930s-1960s. Malay Literature, [S.l.], v. 32, n. 2, p. 207-238, dec. 2019. ISSN 2682-8030. Available at: <http://jurnal.dbp.my/index.php/MalayLiterature/article/view/5511>. Date accessed: 02 apr. 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.37052/ml.32(2)no3.